Booker Little


Booker_Little1In an all-to-short life of 23 years, Booker Little established himself as one of the greatest jazz trumpet players of the 2nd half of the 20th century. He possessed blazing technique, unsurpassed melodic gifts, deep harmonic understanding, and a fearless approach to improvisation.

Booker Little - Episode 1

In an all-to-short life of 23 years, Booker was able to play and record with some of the most important musicians of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s including Eric Dolphy, Max Roach and John Coltrane. On this podcast I will examine his influences and his first recordings from 1958.
CompositionArtistAlbumYear
Minor SweetBooker LittleBooker Little Quartet1960
Blues WalkClifford BrownStudy in Brown1955
ShirleyBooker Little/Max RoachMax Roach on the Chicago Scene1958
Memo to MauriceBooker Little/Max RoachMax Roach on the Chicago Scene1958
My Old FlameBooker Little/Max RoachMax Roach on the Chicago Scene1958
Larry LarueBooker Little/Max RoachDeeds, Not Words1958

Booker Little - Episode 2

By 1958 Booker Little was recording under his own name. Although only 20 years old, the recordings show a musician of great poise and maturity. He begins to emerge as serious composer and arranger. His playing continues to improve and his technical prowess allows him utilize acrobatic leaps in his improvisations. In 1960 he began his musical association with Eric Dolphy. The two musicians’ playing complemented each other and helped to bring Booker greater exposure.
CompositionAritstAlbumYear
MilestonesBooker LittleBooker Little 4 and Max Roach1958
Dungeon WaltzBooker LittleBooker Little 4 and Max Roach1958
A Starling's ThemeBooker Little/Frank StrozierFantastic Frank Strozier1959
There's No YouBooker Little/Max RoachThe Many Sides of Max1959
Minor SweetBooker LittleBooker Little1960
Far CryBooker Little/Eric DolphyFar Cry1960

Booker Little - Episode 3

On this podcast we will listen to selections from his two last albums recorded under his name before he passed in the fall of 1961. His compositions and arrangements continued to mature and increasingly began to show the influence of modern 20th orchestral composers. I can’t predict what he might have accomplished had he lived longer, but he made a great impact in a short period of time.
CompostionArtistAlbumYear
We SpeakBooker LittleOut Front1961
Strength and Sanity Booker LittleOut Front1961
Victory and Sorrow Booker LittleVictory and Sorrow1961
Looking AheadBooker Little Victory and Sorrow1961

Max Roach


max-roachMax Roach (1924-2007) was born in North Carolina and raised in New York City. A pioneer of bebop, Roach went on to work in many other styles of music, and is generally considered one of the most important drummers in jazz history. He worked with many famous jazz musicians, including Coleman Hawkins, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus, Sonny Rollins and Clifford Brown.

Max Roach - Episode 1

Roach's most significant innovations came in the 1940s, when he and jazz drummer Kenny Clarke devised a new concept of musical time by playing the pulse of time on the ride cymbal instead of on the bass drum. The new approach left space for the drummer to insert dramatic accents on the snare drum, bass drum, and cymbals. By matching his rhythms with a tune's melody he created a new way to accompany soloists in the angular and highly rhythmic bebop style. Roach did this with great subtlety and often shifted the dynamic emphasis from one part of his drum kit to another within a single phrase, creating a sense of tonal color and rhythmic surprise. Roach played on many of Parker's most important records, including the November 1945 Savoy session (Ko-Ko) which was a turning point in modern jazz.
CompositionArtistYear
Disorder at the BorderMax Roach/Coleman Hawkins1944
Woody'n YouMax Roach/Coleman Hawkins1944
Buh Dee DahtMax Roach/Coleman Hawkins1944
Ko-KoMax Roach/Charlie Parker1945
CrazeologyMax Roach/Charlie Parker1947
Bird Gets the WormMax Roach/Charlie Parker1947

Max Roach - Episode 2

The large number of important and grounding breaking recordings that Roach played on is a testament to his ability as a drummer. He was one of the most sought after musician in jazz for over 4 decades. In 1952, Roach co-founded Debut Records with bassist Charles Mingus. This label released a record of a May 15, 1953 concert which came to be known as Jazz at Massey Hall, featuring Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Mingus and Roach. Also released on this label was the groundbreaking bass-and-drum free improvisation, “Percussion Discussion.”
CompositionArtistAlbumYear
MoveMax Roach/Fats Navarro1948
MoveMaz Roach/Miles Davis NonetBirth of the Cool1949
Tempus FugitMax Roach/Bud Powell Trio1949
Salt PeanutsMax Roach/Quintet of the YearJazz at Massey Hall1953
MildamaMax Roach/Clifford BrownBrown & Roach Incorporated1954

Max Roach - Episode 3

As the bop era progressed into the late '50s, Roach was known for "hard bop" and experimentation on albums such as Max Roach Plus Four (1956), Deeds Not Words (1958) and Max (1958). He also continued his collaborations with Sonny Rollins. In June 1956 he played on Sonny Rollins' groundbreaking solo album, Saxophone Colossus. A brilliant showcase of material, Roach's performance on the album Blue 7 "shows," as Gunther Sculler commented in Jazz Panorama, "that exciting drum solos need not be just an un-thinking burst of energy - they can be interesting and meaningful compositions.” In February of 1958, Roach and Oscar Pettiford formed a trio with Rollins for the saxophonist's celebrated Riverside album, Freedom Suite.
CompositionArtistAlbumYear
Parisian ThoroughfareMax Roach/Clifford BrownMax Roach/Clifford Brown Quintet1954
DelilahMax Roach/Clifford BrownMax Roach/Clifford Brown Quintet1954
Blue SevenMax Roach/Sonny RollinsSaxophone Colossus1956
The Freedom SuiteMax Roach/Sonny RollinsFreedom Suite1958
A Little MaxMax Roach/Duke Ellington/MingusMoney Jungle1962

Max Roach - Episode 4

This podcast will feature some of Max Roach’s most important solo work. Max was a pioneer soloist, playing melodies on entire the drum set. We start with his 1953 Jazz at Massey Hall solo and move through Drums Unlimited featuring his most important solo piece, “For Big Sid” dedicated to legendary drummer Big Sid Catlett.
CompositionArtistAlbumYear
Drum ConversationBud PowellJazz at Massey Hall V.21953
Drums UnlimitedMax RoachDrums Unlimited1966
The Drum Also WaltzesMax RoachDrums Unlimited1966
For Big SidMax RoachDrums Unlimited1966
Mop MopMax Roach QuartetMax Roach Again1964